“Look Up, Stay Positive, and Be the Light in Someone’s Day!”
At the end of each Inspiring Hope Show, I use the phrase “Look up, stay positive, and be the light in someone’s day.” This sentiment has brought a powerful new meaning to me based on what my husband and I have experienced over the past few months. Walking amidst the sadness of cancer patients at the Boston mega-hospitals, we have been reminded of the preciousness of life.
Surrounded by so many emotions during the time we were immersed in the cancer treatment system has caused us to appreciate all that is good in our world. Those just starting their treatments exhibited fear, overwhelm, and trepidation. Others expressed some rightful anger and frustration from the effects of the treatments. Then there was the surprising energy of renewal as we walked across the Bridge of Hope daily. And finally the joy of celebrating with those who rang the bell on their graduation day, signaling new beginnings, new hope, and a fresh new lease on life.
As we come to appreciate the goodness of life, we embrace all that brings us joy, keeps us laughing, and brings us hope for a new day filled with grace. If we each choose to be the light shining in the shadow of gloom, we serve others by illuminating endless possibilities for hope. Shining the light of hope also deflects the darkness that can easily take over, consume our thoughts, and drain our energies. Lifting the cloak of sadness, we breathe new life into stagnant energy, facilitating gentle movement toward health and happiness.
Inspiring hope has a whole new meaning for me. Upon graduation from his treatment program, I was honored to join him in ringing the bell of hope… which brought an entirely new awareness of what hope truly means.
As a reluctant, yet supportive partner through my sweetheart’s cancer treatments has helped me to see the hidden goodness in our world with a new perspective on hope. While initially, I wanted him to fight this battle using only holistic methods, he was determined to use both the allopathic and integrative approaches. One to completely eradicate the aberrant cells, and the other to support and enhance his system through the process. I now acknowledge that he was right. This was the best approach for him.
Bridge of Hope
Crossing the Bridge of Hope as we entered the Boston medical complex for his radiation treatments brought an awareness of the thousands of people who walk through, work in, give support, and live as a result of the cancer treatment industry. Knowing that cancer is a byproduct of our modern-day toxic environment, we cannot simply wish it away. Yes, we must do what we can to change the quality of our food, water, air, and mental-emotional intake. Yet the injury to our bodies is real and we must embrace the tools that others have dedicated their lives to develop for helping us to heal.
Med beds are coming, holistic treatments are amazingly supportive, and our medical technology advances have created pinpoint accuracy in radiation treatments. The equipment has advanced incredibly since my early recall of working in radiation therapy as a student in the early 1970s… of course, it has. The staff, however, still hold a strong sense of patience, kindness, and compassion for each patient who enters and exits their treatment programs. The staff in this mega medical complex were definitely heart-centered, living and sharing their passion for being of service to the sick and weakened among us.
Though we started this journey feeling a bit alone and isolated with many well-intentioned people advising on what we should do to avoid medical treatments, I am glad we decided to pursue the combined approach. Many individuals have broad-stroked the medical community as villains in this post-pandemic world. What we experienced while embroiled in the treatment industry warmed my heart and left a renewed sense of hope for our medical people.
Though the prep for the treatments was a bit brutal, my husband kept his sense of humor through the month-long ordeal. There was certainly some discomfort to the bodily systems with more talk of bladder and bowel functions than ever. That said, we tend to be more private about our business and began the journey through the month of intense treatments alone. Then, we were welcomed into and immersed in a community of people going through similar treatment programs as we lived for several weeks at the Hope Lodge in Boston. This gave us yet another perspective on hope. Whether folks were from Georgia, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, or New Hampshire most of the situations and stories were similar. Some were much sicker and more fragile than others. Yes, wearing masks helped some, even if to psychologically support their weakened immune system. It let us know how fragile they were. We learned to let go of who was wearing masks and why. It was an important transition into accepting each person for who they are.
Living in the Hope Lodge was like being away at a boarding school or summer camp. Each had comfortable private sleeping and living quarters and would come together as one large community in a gathering room surrounded by 5 stocked kitchens, with one designated as ours. We interacted with others at mealtimes. Many days each week meals were sponsored by supporting organizations, which meant we didn’t have to do a lot of cooking.
It was the community aspect of hope that was most significant for us. Presented with opportunities to hear other’s stories gave us a pause to reflect on our own choices and helped us to feel even more resolved in what we were doing. Hearing about the painful journeys that many have endured gave a sense of true camaraderie that was missing while staying at a hotel or being home alone. Interestingly, each patient had a designated caregiver, be it a wife, husband, or family member. We were an integral part of the care team. I even had to get a doctor’s permission to leave for a night to check on our kitties. Through all the treatments, prep, and sickness, there was an air of support, of oneness that is rarely felt in our divided world.
Puzzles of Life
One of our most memorable things about the experience was the puzzles. In the community room of each floor, someone would start a puzzle. Then, someone else would add a piece or several until over the days the puzzle would be completed and a new one started. Those intricate 1,000-piece puzzles were beautiful representations of the journey each person is on. While working on the puzzles together or alone, each contributed their separate pieces that might assist another to get a new perspective. Someone else might see possibilities with fresh eyes as the pieces connected, creating sections of the image that ultimately came together as one beautiful picture. From the quiet stillness of accomplishment to the separation from technology, a gentle closeness ensued. Feeling as if we were together helping one another to put the puzzle pieces of each life, of health, of community… all together. Just as the whole image came together there was a sense of bringing renewed strength, health, and happiness through hope with deepest gratitude.
Each person was considered a warrior on their healing journey. Be the light ’cause you never really know what someone else is going through. May your holiday season be blessed with much to be grateful for.
Many Blessings and Deepest Gratitude,
Lois & Curt Hermann